Published Nov 02, 2016Ryan Hunn is a versatile Manchester-based producer who, under the moniker Illum Sphere, has grazed a variety of genres in his body of work, such as techno, glitch, footwork and electronic soul. Apart from cerebral, Brainfeeder-style efforts via Bleep and Young Turks, Hunn has now firmly planted himself at Ninja Tune, through which he's released his most recent album, Glass.
Over the span of three years, Hunn has delivered an impressive five releases that have showcased a deliberately oblique approach to production. This style is reoriented with Glass, as the producer sonically leans in the direction of his Spectre Vex and Second Sight 12" releases. Pervading Glass is a deliberate sense of disorientation, as the relationship between Hunn's lofty mallets and taut percussion patterns is left to only gradually reveal itself. Hunn abandons accessibility here, lending his focus to manipulating detached, reverberating melodies. "River" and "Thousand Yard Stare" are the record's true moments of brilliance, as heavy, brooding bass tones are left to drive the melody.
Glass represents Hunn's most mature musical sensibilities to date; however, the instrumentation throughout the album is so sporadic and indecisive that it's unclear what its ideal listening setting might be. Nonetheless, the record is mixed incredibly well, and its masterful sound imaging compensates for what at times feels like an aggressive chokehold on its own theme. (Ninja Tune)